15 killed in Ivory Coast villages near Liberia

AP News
Posted: Sep 17, 2011 9:43 AM
15 killed in Ivory Coast villages near Liberia

Armed men from Liberia have killed at least 15 people in attacks on villages along the border over the last two days, Ivory Coast's defense minister said Saturday.

The violence began Thursday night in the country's southwest, a region that has seen fighting even after the resolution of Ivory Coast's bloody political crisis earlier this year.

Also Saturday, an international watchdog said it had documented a similar attack that left at least eight people dead back in July.

Matt Wells of Human Rights Watch says the fighters loyal to ex-President Laurent Gbagbo crossed over the border at night and killed villagers, including women and children, and then disappeared back into the Liberia's dense jungle just a couple of miles away.

"Some had their throats slit and others were shot. They shot a woman from behind at point blank range," Wells says. "The latest attack looks to be of a very similar nature."

Ivory Coast was plunged into months of violence after Gbagbo refused to cede power after losing the November presidential election. President Alassane Ouattara has pledged to investigate the killings of thousands of people during the conflict on both sides.